Indigenous Services Canada legal fees

On August 28, 2017, the Prime Minister announced the dissolution of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) and the creation of two new departments: Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) and Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada (CIRNAC).

The variance between legal services fees from 2016-2017 (reported by INAC) to 2017-2018 (reported by ISC), is due to the fact that INAC accounted for legal services fees for both ISC and CIRNAC. With the creation of ISC on November 30, 2017, ISC and CIRNAC report on their respective legal costs separately. Legal fees amounts also vary from year to year based on the volume of transactional business requiring legal advice, the pace of negotiations and adjudications and the nature and magnitude of litigation brought before the courts. Not all of ISC's legal costs are related to defending litigation. In fact, many of these costs relate to legal services and negotiations.

The complexity of Indigenous legal issues is grounded in the centuries-old relationship between the Crown and Indigenous peoples. This relationship has historical, constitutional and legislative underpinnings. For example, Section 35 of the Constitution Act 1982 recognizes and affirms the existing Aboriginal and treaty rights in Canada and is an important part of our shared history. Legal questions arising from these areas contribute to the number of cases before the courts.

The total amount of legal fees paid by ISC in 2017-2018 was $7.7 million.

ISC continues to ensure that its legal costs are managed in a transparent and accountable manner for the mutual benefit of all Canadians. These costs are submitted annually to the Receiver General and the most recent costs are detailed in the 2017-2018 Public Accounts .

ISC believes that the best way to address issues with respect to Indigenous peoples is through collaboration, not litigation. Negotiated settlements and outcomes are preferred whenever possible.

2017-2018 Legal fees ($7.7M)
Description of 2017-2018 legal fees pie chart

The graphic above is a pie chart representation of the total $7.7 million in legal fees paid by ISC in 2017-2018. The legal services expenditures include two components:

Annual comparison costs of legal services (in million)
  ISC INAC
  2017-2018 2016-2017 2015-2016 2014-2015 2013-2014 2012-2013 2011-2012
Department of Justice Canada
Advisory services $7.6 $32.4 $32.9 $38.5 $40.9 $43 $45.2
Litigation services $0.0 $33.1 $29.5 $29.7 $31.8 $30.9 $36.7
Total cost paid to the Department of Justice Canada $7.6 $65.5 $62.4 $68.2 $72.7 $73.9 $81.9
Contracted lawyers and agents
External legal contracted services $0.011 $3.32 $3.62 $5.22 $5.62 $6.52 $5.32
Adjudicator services and fees for claimants under the Indian Residential Schools Adjudication Secretariat3 N/A N/A N/A N/A $27.5 $25.7 $22.9
Total cost paid for contracted lawyers and agents $0.1 $3.3 $3.6 $5.2 $33.1 $32.2 $28.2
Total legal costs $7.7 $68.8 $66 $73.4 $105.8 $106.1 $110.1
1. External legal contracted services for ISC includes services to the Regional Operations sector

2. External legal contracted services for INAC includes services to the Indian Residential Schools Adjudication Secretariat and other programs within the department

3. Effective 2014-2015, adjudicators' actuals are no longer reported under legal services since adjudicators do not provide legal services or advice to the Government of Canada.

Figures for 2017-2018 are taken from and consistent with ISC's financial system.

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